This book maybe ordered online from Amazon here.
If you live in Dubuque this book may also be purchased locally at River Lights Bookstore.
By Peter Bridges on December 13, 2016
Daniel Ernst, a prominent lawyer and later public defender in Dubuque, has published a unique and interesting account of his grandfather Alfred Pearson, who served in the 1920s as the American Minister, i.e. envoy, to the newly independent republics of Poland and, later, Finland.
The book is I believe unique among diplomatic memoirs in combining the diaries of Mr. Pearson and of his daughter Thea Elaine Pearson (later Ernst), who at 20 went to Europe and served as her father’s diplomatic hostess. The reader gets first-hand views of the Midwest and of Washington and a number of European capitals besides Warsaw and Helsinki, in the relatively hopeful years after the Great War. Both our envoy and his daughter were good observers of the scene around them, but Mr. Pearson was not a seasoned diplomat. Properly cautious, he waited some time after arriving in Warsaw before attempting any first-person reporting to Washington. The book usefully includes some of Pearson’s reporting later from Helsinki. It was a time, before Hitler took power and Stalinism reached its full force, when many placed their hopes in the Kellogg anti-war pact. Pearson reported that while the Finnish foreign minister had expressed to him the pious hope that “much good” would come of the pact. a Helsinki paper warned that in fact the pact had been “reduced simply to a beautiful gesture.”
Pearson had been born in Sweden in 1869, and had come to America as an infant. Before receiving his first diplomatic appointment he had been a professor at Drake University, and also served as a YMCA executive in France at war’s end. After his diplomatic service he served as Dean at his university until his death in 1939.